The Art of Questioning

It’s easy to jump into interviewing candidates and task-master through the questions and your evaluation. However, this is the biggest mistake an employer can make. It’s important to understand that you, the employer, are being evaluated just as much as the potential hire. It’s critical to stop the checklist and start a genuine relationship with the person before you if you want to be the employer of choice.

A sincere question is characterized by genuine curiosity and a desire to acquire information or understanding. It is posed in a manner that is respectful and non-threatening.

Here are some key features of a sincere question:

  1. Tone and intention: Ask your question with an authentic eagerness to learn or clarify something. The manner is typically friendly, respectful, and open-minded.
  2. Context: Pose your question with a specific context or as part of an ongoing conversation. It demonstrates a genuine interest in the topic and reflects your desire to gather more information or seek clarification.
  3. Open-ended: This allows the questioned person to provide a detailed response and freely share their thoughts or knowledge.
  4. Empathy: A sincere question considers the feelings and perspective of the person being questioned. It aims to establish a connection and foster understanding.

Sometimes, a sincere question can be perceived as insincere due to tone, context, or the relationship between the individuals involved. Several factors can contribute to making a question seem insincere. 

Here are some common characteristics:

  1. Lack of genuine interest: An insincere question often needs a true desire to learn or understand. It may be asked merely as a formality or to create the appearance of engagement without a genuine curiosity behind it.
  2. Hidden motives or agenda: Questions may be perceived as driven by ulterior motives or a secret agenda. The questioner may have a specific outcome in mind or attempt to manipulate or control the conversation.
  3. Disrespectful tone or delivery: How a question is asked can make it seem insincere. If the tone is condescending, dismissive, or mocking, it can convey a lack of respect and undermine the sincerity of the question.
  4. Lack of active listening or follow-up: This may happen by asking questions without actively listening to the response or showing genuine interest in further exploring the topic. This can make it apparent that the questioner is not genuinely invested in the conversation.
  5. Inconsistent or contradictory behavior: If the questioner’s actions or previous statements contradict the question being asked, it can create an impression of insincerity. This misalignment raises doubts about the genuine intent behind the question.

It’s important to note that perception plays a role in determining whether a question is deemed insincere. Individuals may interpret the same question differently based on their experiences and context.

The next time you sit across from someone to determine whether they are a fit for your company, remember they are deciding if you are a fit for their career.